5 days in SE Asia

Jan 29th, 2017, 02:28 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2017
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5 days in SE Asia


I am planning a trip to Taiwan for a friend's wedding mid-March, and after spending time there will have five days to explore another area.

Originally, I had planned to visit Chiang Mai and was excited about the prospect of visiting an elephant sanctuary, eating some delicious food and maybe taking a Thai cooking class, seeing temples, relaxing and exploring waterfalls and enjoying nature (maybe some hiking, etc).

However, I recently discovered that March in Chiang Mai is not ideal due to the smoky season.

Is the smoky season bad enough to warrant changing my plans? If so, can anyone suggest another location that might offer a similar type of experience?

I am open to anywhere within SE Asia, especially somewhere I could fly to overnight from Taiwan (to save both money and time for sightseeing).

Thank you,

srm207 is offline  
Jan 29th, 2017, 04:27 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Yes, the smoke is bad enough to change your plans. Unfortunately the other places I'd recommend for similar experiences, such as Luang Prabang, have the same problem.

Consider Siem Reap as an option.
Kathie is offline  
Jan 29th, 2017, 05:44 PM
Join Date: Jun 2003
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You could consider Bali. China Airlines, Garuda and Eva Air have non-stop flights that are not too expensive (though not overnight).

March is a good time for Bali. The weather is usually good and it's not too crowded. The elephants in Bali are imported, but everything else on your to do list is available. You'd probably want to stay in the Ubud area.

Bear in mind that the Balinese holiday of Nyepi will fall on March 28 this year. The period leading up to Nyepi a wonderful festive time in Bali when people parade gigantic ogre statues through the street. On Nyepi day, however, everything closes down (including the airport) and travelers are required to stay within their hotel grounds. Nyepi is a magical time to be in Bali -- no cars, no motorcycles, no lights, no TV: quiet and full of stars -- but if your time is limited avoid March 28.
marmot is online now  
Jan 29th, 2017, 11:09 PM
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 7,496
I would definitely change your Poland to avoid the north of Thailand and, like Kathie suggests, northern Laos. We have been to both places in March and on both occasions left early because of the problems with the smoke. It doesn't necessarily happen every single year but it does happen more often than not. When we were there 2014 it was so bad visibility was down to 1-200 m and some people were wearing gas masks. We had rented a car and driven from the Burmese border right down to Nan and Lampang etc. Whilst Cm was the worst, everywhere was bad. We eventually made our way down to Khao Lak in the south of the country. We couldn't smell the smoke there but it was still hazy.

For similar types of experience, I would consider, in Vietnam Hanoi and the surrounding areas. Cambodia - Phnom Penh and maybe Kampot, or Malaysia, somewhere like Penang.

You will need to check air schedules from Taipei, but Air Asia has good connections via KL to many places.
crellston is offline  
Jan 30th, 2017, 05:34 PM
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Thank you all for the feedback! Will definitely look into Bali, Vietnam and Cambodia!
srm207 is offline  
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